My Reading List

From time to time people ask me what books I recommend they read…normally in the personal development niche. The books below are all worth reading for different reasons, though some are admittedly better than others, some general, some intellectual… They all shine a light on something though, oppose each other and look at things in interesting ways.

Personal Development and Health

Healing Back Pain, the Mindbody Solution – Dr. John E. Sarno (it’s how I cured RSI and I believe it’s the kind of read you ignore at your own peril – it’s so much more than just about back pain and the reviews on Amazon says it all)

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz (the book of all books)

The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz

The Science of Acting – Sam Kogan (it’s a lot about psychology; I studied at his school)

Stop Thinking and Start Living – Richard Carlson

You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero

Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind – Yuval Noah Harari

The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman (very useful in any kind of relationship)

The Magician’s Way – William Whitecloud (disclaimer: I know him, but that’s not why I recommend the book)

The Last Shaman – William Whitecloud

The Way of the Superior Man – David Deida

Brida – Paulo Coehlo

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho

Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson

Tricks of the Mind – Derren Brown (he has come out with two more books which I am as yet to read)

The Four Man Plan – Cindy Lu

The Game – Neil Strauss (This is about pick-up artists. What’s important is that you learn how attraction can be manipulated. You want to fall for real attraction, you also want to learn people skills, because all of life is a form of attraction to people.)

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus – John Gray (this book is what it is, but it makes some valid points)

The Shaman in Stilettoes – Anna Hunt

The Language of Desire – Felicity Keith (this is not a literary masterpiece, in fact it’s as far from it as humanly possibly, but it has very valid points when it comes to men and sexuality. It’s a nice read if you want to spice up your sex life. Dirty language guaranteed)

Emotions Revealed – Paul Ekman (haven’t read more than parts yet)

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love – Dr. Sue Johnson (haven’t read more than parts yet)

Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationships by Letting Yourself Be Loved – Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt (haven’t read more than parts yet)

Think and Grow Rich & Outwitting the Devil – Napoleon Hill

The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace Wattles

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management – Kevin Kruse

The Achievement Habit – Bernard Roth

The E-Myth – Michael E. Gerber (this is about business, but it’s brilliant)

The Four Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Mind Hacking — John Hargrave

Unfu*k Yourself — Gary John Bishop

The Everyday Parenting Toolkit — Alan Kazdin (whether you’re parenting yourself, your partner, or your children, read this book, because it isn’t about parenting, it’s about behavior…and how to change it. Bloody brilliant if I may say so)

Biographies

As for autobiographies, I’ve been swooning over quite a few by Richard Branson, I love Jobs by Walter Isaacson and I adored The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman (I may suffer from a great interest in mentalism…).

Apricots on the Nile — Colette Rossant (all her books I’ve read are excellent food memoires)

My Invented Country — Isabel Allende

Contested Will–Who Wrote Shakespeare? — James Shapiro (brilliant, just brilliant)

Fiction

When it comes to fiction…the list is too long, but a few favorites include:

Anything Isabel Allende (this is the woman who I saw give a speech in a church in Vancouver when I was seventeen who said that she knew she had cured her depression when she dreamed of Antonio Banderas swimming in rice pudding — I LOVE her!)

The Amelia Peabody Series — Elizabeth Peters (cozy, hilarious, murder mystery and tons of facts about ancient Egypt as it’s about some archeologists and written by a trained egyptologist)

The Coffeehouse Murder Mysteries — Cleo Coyle (coffee and murder in a very cozy setting in NYC)

The Night Circus — Erin Morgenstern (it’s slow for the first few chapters but if you get through that…oh boy!); magical realism

East of Eden — John Steinbeck (possibly my favorite book of all time)

Anything Sarah Addison Allen — magical realism and (sometimes) food woven together with romance

The Love Goddess Cooking School — Melissa Senate (food and magical realism again with a hefty dose of romance)

My Notorious Life: A Novel — Kate Manning (amazing book about a woman pro birth control in VIctorian New York where women often died in childbirth and the poor couldn’t feed another mouth — controversial and stunning)

Julia Golding’s Cat Royal series (a young heroine raised in a theatre in the 1790s goes on swashbuckling adventures — the books are for people age nine and up so I guess I qualify…) and The Companion’s Quartet series (YA fantasy with an eco twist)

Alison Goodman — The Dark Days Club (regency fantasy filled with romance and mystery)

Linda Stratmann — The Frances Doughty series (fab historical mystery set in London, some of the most intelligent plots)

Katherine Schellman — The Body in the Garden

Andrea Penrose — The Wrexford and Sloane series (the use of language–cant, cockney and Latin–is just fab)

These Vicious Masks — YA series by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

The Mermaid’s Sister — Carrie Anne Noble (fantasy fairytale that I love)

Lee Strauss — The Ginger Gold series (historical mystery set in London)

Alys Clare — The Outcast Girls (and other books in that series)

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic series — Helen Harper (hilarious witch murder mystery that’s actually well written)

Anna and the French Kiss — Stephanie Perkins (romantic YA)

Jordan Rivet’s Steel and Fire series (YA fantasy with a lot of sword fighting)

Rachel E. Carter’s Black Mage series (YA with a lot of fighting and romance)

Books by M. J. Rose — not all are great, but some are wonderful; I love the magical realism related to perfume

Like Water for Chocolate — Laura Esquivel (magical realism and food)

Mornings in Jenin — Susan Abulhawa (one of the best books I’ve ever read, but immensly tragic — about the war in Palestine. It helped me grasp what living in a war zone is like and it’s beautifully written)

Stacy Finz — Nugget Series and Garner Brothers Series (sugar sweet smalltown romance set in the Sierras that actually has some semi-believable characters in it)

Anything Lindsey Kelk — hilarious contemporary British romance

Debbie Johnson’s Comfort Food Café Series — slow-paced realistic (as far as characters are concerned) smalltown romance set in Britain

Anything by Juliet Blackwell–the woman is a marvel where cozy murder mystery is concerned–the plots and characters are incredibly well put together and there’s a dose of humor in there too!

Anything Barbara O’Neil–feel good women’s fiction with incredible depth

Anything by Rebecca Raisin (they’re cute, magical realism is used, it’s romance, but they aren’t GREAT books, more like cozy reading)

Anything by Jenny Oliver – down to earth British romance novels that actually make sense, a bit slow, but sweet

Heather Blake’s Potion series and Blackbird Cafe series

Ellery Adams Charmed Pie Shoppe series

Anything by Carol J. Perry

Ami McKay: The Birth House

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (doh!)

Ana T. Drew — great murder mystery

Emily Organ — I have become rather addicted to her historical cozy mystery

Anything by Jane Austen — the books are slow paced, but they still keep you turning the pages

I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene, as well as some Swedish authors, and I still have fond memories of some of the older books by Carolyn Keene (including the Mary-Lou series), as well as Blyton’s Famous Five and The Barney Mystery Series

Samantha Silver – Poison in Paddington (this is the start of a series and I loved the deduction skills the detective used, however, I tried one of her paranormal series and if Poison in Paddington was stitched together with logic, the paranormal series was completely lacking of such–I didn’t finish the book)

Harley Merlin Series by Bella Forrest (it’s addictive, if not perfectly executed–somehow all the people on the investigative teams in the coven just happen to be in their late teens or early twenties and other such inexplicable things make the series less enjoyable than it could have been, but overall it’s great)